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From the Word: 21 You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, “You shall not kill,” and, “Whoever kills will be in danger of the judgment.” 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his neighbor will be subject to the judgment, and whoever calls his neighbor stupid will be accountable to the council, and whoever says, “You fool,” will be in danger of the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21–22)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Fifth Commandment
You shall not kill.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.
Pulling It Together
In case you think Luther takes his explanation of the Fifth Commandment too far, consider Jesus. The catechism explains not killing in terms of fighting and of being a caring friend to our neighbors. The gospel takes it further. You are not to murder, yes, but you are not to be angry with your neighbor or even resort to name-calling and insults. The one who does is subject to damnation.
Prayer: Guard my lips, O Lord, and my spirit. Amen.
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